January 19, 2003, 11:01 AM
I have a Colt Cobra. It has a 4inch barrel,and is chmabered in .38Speacial. I think it was made in 1952or1953. The serial number is-LW13XXX. I have never seen another 4inch Cobra. Also the bluing on the gun is in very good shape. The frame has some wear on the frontiside of the trigger guard and the backstrap. I guess the frame is alloy and this is common on these guns. Thank you for any information on this gun.
January 19, 2003, 08:20 PM
Pre-1972 Cobra's with 4" barrels weren't rare, but not really common either. Most people wanted the 2" barreled guns, but Colt sold a fair number of 4 inchers.
There were a number of 4" guns sold to foreign governments and police agencies.
After Colt went to the shrouded barrel in 1972, the Cobra was rare in longer barrels, most in 2" and a small number in 3". I've never seen a 4" post-72, but Colt may have made them.
The frame material was aluminum, often listed by Colt as "Coltalloy", in earlier ads. The pre-72 guns were not rated for the .38 Special +P ammo, so I would use very little of this in your gun.
January 21, 2003, 12:10 AM
- - -All I've ever seen had the square butt, so that they looked just like the then-current Police Positive Special, except, of course, for the light weight. I understand these were popular in Latin America, and have heard of some with military or police markings.
My reference indicates LW-13XXX was produced in 1952.
The only three inch Cobra I ever had was the round butt version--Never saw a two- or three-inch with square butt.
In a a lot of times and places, sidearms were worn largely as status symbols. I read of at least one U.S. firm with remote facilities in Latin America which required their personnel to carry, to discourage theft and guerilla attacks. A four inch Cobra, or, say, an airweight M&P (later M12) with four-inch barrel, has advantage of appearing to be a more-or-less "full size" revolver, and yet less of a burden in day to day wear.
The "+P" rating is fairly recent--There was no such thing when the Cobra ws introduced, and probably still was not when the four-inch was discontinued. There were some "High Speed" and .38/44 loads, which would qualify as +P nowadays. And, like the +P, they would have loosened up the alloy frame revolvers pretty quickly.
I agree with dfariswheel - - - I'd shoot your Cobra with target or standard velocity loads in practice. I would have no qualms about keeping it loaded with +P for home defense. No single +P, or 20 of them, will blow up a Colt or Smith alloy frame piece, but it WILL dramatically accelerate the wearing-out process.
Almost forgot - - You asked about worth. Hard to say, properly. The four-inch, though scarcer than the two-inch version, is not nearly so popular. Several years ago, I saw two- and three-inchers going for $135 to 150, in good to very good condition, and their four-inch brothers for under $100. Times have changed, of course. I would offer $200 sight unseen for yours, in the condition you describe. It is probably worth more, naturally, especially with original Colt stocks.
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